It is the first NASCAR win for Kaulig Racing in 125 combined Xfinity Series starts since 2014. It is Chastain’s second career Xfinity Series win.
Chastain is a native of Alva, Florida, located 207 miles Southwest of Daytona Beach.
“Oh my gosh, we did it!” Chastain told NBCSN. “I sat here as a kid. I watched these races as a kid every Fourth of July, never could come in the spring because we were growing watermelons. These guys right here gave me a race car that, oh my gosh, could win a race at Daytona!”
Kaulig Racing entered three cars in a race for the first time and had all three cross the finish line first. Allmendinger, who made his first start of the year for the team, appeared to complete the sweep after he passed Christopher Bell on the last lap.
Pole-sitter Tyler Reddick finished 17th after he pit with four laps to go to repair damage. He was involved in a wreck with Chase Briscoe, Justin Allgaier and Ryan Sieg on Lap 46 in Stage 2. Briscoe was eliminated after he hit the inside wall nose-first. Reddick was able to continue despite his No. 2 Chevrolet sliding through the rain soaked infield grass.
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Stephen Leicht finished fifth for JD Motorsports, scoring his first top-five finish since 2007. … Brandon Brown finished sixth for his first career top-10 finish. … Jeff Green was seventh, scoring top 10s in both Daytona races this year.
WHAT’S NEXT: Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on July 12 on NBCSN
Christopher Bell dominates at Iowa for fourth Xfinity win of season
Reddick saw his run of 10 consecutive top-five finishes (including three wins) come to an end. Reddick finished 15th.
Shortly after returning to the track on a late restart in Stage 2, Reddick suffered a flat right rear tire and was unable to wait until the stage was over, struggling to get back to pit road and eventually falling as much as three laps off the pace before ending up just one lap down at the checkered flag.
“I think every driver would agree that this place puts on the best racing we go to,” Custer told FS1 of Iowa. “It was fun. Christopher and them had the best car all day. I feel like we’ve caught up to them.”
This is the eighth consecutive Xfinity Series race this season that has been won by either Bell, Tyler Reddick or Cole Custer.
Stage 1 winner: Christopher Bell
Stage 2 winner: Christopher Bell
Who had a good race: Cole Custer gave Bell a strong challenge late in the race, helped by a couple of cautions, but couldn’t quite get to the lead. … Harrison Burton had an outstanding effort in only his second career Xfinity Series start.
Who had a bad race:Brandon Brown had a bad race, but not of his own fault. He suffered exposure to fumes within his race car, which caused him to be taken to the infield care center.
Not the interviews you want to be a part of, but a thank you to the @NASCARONFOX crew for allowing me to let my family and friends know we are ok just bummed out. https://t.co/4apOSNVKh1
Through it all — and that includes Brown moving from his family’s primary car to another ride twice because someone else brought sponsorship money — Brown is 14th in points heading into Sunday’s Xfinity race at Iowa Speedway.
He is 97 points out of the final playoff spot, held by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones. While the playoffs would be quite an accomplishment, it will be difficult for a team such as Brown’s to top many of the better-funded organizations ahead.
Even so, Brown is reaching one of his goals for the season.
“Our focus this year was to crack the top 15,” he told NBC Sports. “Getting a top-10 finish would be great. I don’t want it to be because the leaders wrecked. Superspeedways, we can count them if we want, but that’s like a crapshoot. We want to earn a top 10 this year.”
He hasn’t gotten there yet. Brown finished a career-best 13th this season at Atlanta, Dover and Pocono.
It’s not easy to get into the top 10 with a fleet of older chassis that includes those once driven by John Wes Townley at Athenian Motorsports. Brown said the team also added some Richard Childress Racing chassis when RCR downsized its program.
There have been other changes throughout the season. Brown has had seven different pit crew combinations in the first 13 races because not everyone they’ve used is always available. With tenths of a second often the difference between gaining or losing spots on pit road, the less a crew and driver are familiar with each other, the longer it can take to complete stops.
“When you’re switching to new guys, I don’t think they know what to expect (from the driver) until after the first stop,” he said.
Brown’s biggest challenge, though, is money, especially for a team with fewer than a dozen full-time employees. Even Brown has a dual role. The team’s website lists him as marketing director/driver.
That means the 25-year-old makes a lot of phone calls.
“The goal is obviously to search for any company that has expressed any interest in motorsports at all, whether it is circle track racing, road course racing, dirt bike, whatever,” Brown told NBC Sports. “Also, it kind of comes down to who do we know, who do any friends and family know, try to make some sort of a connection so that it’s not a complete cold (call), ‘Hey my name is Brandon, what do you think of NASCAR?’
“It’s going through everybody’s rolodex in the shop because a lot of the guys come from different areas, try to pull from each one of them.”
For every phone call that provides hope, there are many more rejections or calls that aren’t returned.
“It’s definitely tedious,” said Brown, who graduated from Coastal Carolina University in December. “It’s not the most fun at all. I understand that each and every team in the garage in some shape or form has gone through something similar. I just kind of throw it up to growing pains and just kind of look forward to … a day where I can just go to the track and come home and just focus on watching film or doing a simulator.”
Until then, he’ll keep looking for money for Brandonbilt Motorsports, which is running its first full-time season in NASCAR.
Brown ran the season’s first seven Xfinity races without a primary sponsor. He has had a sponsor in five of the past six races. Vero True Social is back as a sponsor this weekend at Iowa after it served in that role at Charlotte and Michigan.
“It all comes down to the dollar that keeps the race team alive,”Brown said.
He will remain in the No. 86 for the foreseeable future since no one has purchased any more races at this time.
Even with all the challenges, Brown has made gains. His season-worst 26th-place finish last weekend at Michigan ended a streak of five consecutive top-20 finishes. Despite not having sponsorship early in the season, he opened with six top 20s in a row.
“We want to peg up the ladder,” Brown said. “We understand as a team where we are in comparison to the rest of the garage.”
That doesn’t mean he’s satisfied with staying there. So he keeps calling, searching for the money that will help this team climb higher.
Reddick has three wins during that stretch, while Bell and Custer each have two wins.
Reddick notes how competition between helps make each better.
“Every single week and every single lap I feel like, if say I’m leading and they’re catching me, I push harder, if I’m catching them, they push harder,” Reddick told NBC Sports of Bell and Custer. “Most people I’m able to run down and catch and make something happen, but those two are definitely the hardest to pass. They work the hardest to keep you behind them. It’s a lot of fun battling with them.”
3. Wanting to scream!
Chase Cabre did just that after winning his first K&N Pro Series East race June 2 at Memphis International Raceway. The win came in his 33rd career series start.
Cabre, in his third season in the series, had three runner-up finishes, including two this year, before the win.
OK, so once the celebration in victory lane is done, the car passes inspection, and it’s time to leave, then what?
Cabre drove back to the Charlotte area with his mom and brother but first they stopped for dinner at a Red Robin restaurant.
“It’s funny how the emotions change so fast,” Cabre told NBC Sports. “You get out, you’re screaming and the next thing you know you want everybody to realize I won. (At the restaurant), nobody here knows you won.
“They have no clue. ‘What are you so excited about?’ “
If only they knew.
4. Truck debut
Sixteen-year-old Chandler Smith makes his Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut this weekend at Iowa Speedway. He’ll be in the No. 51 for Kyle Busch Motorsports. The Toyota development driver has three ARCA wins and six poles in 13 starts. His most recent ARCA victory was May 19 at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway.
Smith also is scheduled to drive for KBM on June 28 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Aug. 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway and Nov. 7 at ISM Raceway. He will drive the KBM Super Late Model Oct. 13 at the Winchester (Speedway) 400, Nov. 3 in the All-American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and Dec. 2 in the Snowball Derby.
He must be in the top 20 in points to be eligible for a playoff spot should he win. His Kansas victory does not count toward playoff eligibility because he had not declared for Truck points at the time.
Chastain enters this weekend 64 points out of 20th place in the season standings. Anthony Alfredo is 20th with 102 points.
Cole Custer passed Tyler Reddick for the lead on the last corner of the last lap to win Saturday’s Xfinity race in overtime at Pocono Raceway.
Reddick passed Custer on the overtime restart and Custer chased him down. Reddick’s car drifted up the track on the final corner of the last lap, giving Custer the chance to get by.
“It was pretty unbelievable,” Custer said after his third win of the season. “Tyler gave me a real run for my money there. I have no idea how he made it stick on that restart on the bottom passing me but he did. He was unbelievable on the brakes at the end. I was just able to kind of force a mistake a little bit trying to pack air on him.”
Reddick, who started in the rear because of a transmission change, finished second.
“I just love giving away races on the last lap to Cole Custer,” Reddick said on the radio to his team.
The race went to overtime when Justin Allgaier spun while running seventh in Turn 1 off a restart with three laps to go.
Stage 1 winner: Cole Custer
Stage 2 winner: Justin Allgaier
Who had a bad race: Brandon Jones wrecked on the sixth lap, ending his day. He finished last in the 38-car field. … Chad Finchum was involved in a multi-car crash on Lap 11 and finished 37th, the fifth consecutive race he’s placed 30th or worse.
Who had a good race: Runner-up Tyler Reddick scored his ninth consecutive top-five finish. Brandon Brown finished 13th to tie his career-best finish.